Erica’s Cancer Journey: “If you don’t know, now you know: 25 things about Erica”

Portrait of Erica by Surprise Photography

I so enjoy writing to you every week. Maybe some of these personal details will help fill in the gaps I don’t usually address. I know I’m always curious about this stuff about other people. This was fun. Feel free to send me tidbits about you to!

1. Rap music is a big Yes in my life. I read somewhere that rap stands for Rhythm And Poetry, which delights me to know.

2. The person I’d most like to have dinner with is 1700s intellectual Angelica Schuyler.


3. My favorite book is Bird Songs by Les Beletsky.

4. A favorite poem is “Lost” by David Wagoner.

5. I loathe raisins. Yes, even in [insert literally any word here]. Golden raisins are the worst.

6. Celery. Ew.

7. I have traveled around the world. My favorite place is wherever my husband is.

8. I could not stand my husband when we met (understatement): too kind, too funny, too smart, too helpful. Blech. (Clearly, I came around.)

9.  I thought the Harry Potter craze was stupid, so I read the first one specifically to have informed talking points about why it was so dumb. I was immediately hooked.

10. I used to believe energy healing, such as Reiki, was ridiculous, so I had a session (from a Catholic nun!) to prove how useless it was. I felt something. I had two more sessions with her to disprove my initial experience. Then I ended up studying with her.

11. I hate measuring things. I just don’t get where to put the end of the ruler or the tape: Do I stretch across the outside of the thing? Or the inside?

12. I fully resist parking where it feels disconnected from my destination. I will walk a half-mile to get into a store if it’s a clear relationship between the parking area and the place I’m going. Municipal parking makes me crazy; I just feel so detached.

13. Once it’s in my hands, I open things intuitively, efficiently. Sometimes that’s the way the package was designed and it’s a smooth operation. More often, the box isn’t anticipating my two-second patience level. My husband routinely comes to me with outstretched hands, holding this mangled mass of paperboard, uttering, “Really? Really?” My entire family threw a coup about my opening cases of soda, so Mike walked me through how to open them, and now they don’t roll out and explode on the floor when we open the refrigerator door.

14. My parenting philosophy is, “Today, I will: Connect with my Children, Bring Joy into their lives, Nurture & Encourage what they Love to Do, and Celebrate them for Being Exactly Who They Are!” as inspired by Anne Ohman, who changed the entire course of my family’s life.

15. I know how to do that arm-twist move from Zoom.

16. When I have a smooth customer service transaction, I never take it for granted and ask to speak to the supervisor to report it.

17. David Attenborough is so engaging, I watch anything he makes. My favorite is Life of Birds.

18. My son and daughter are smarter and funnier than I am. They are good, strong, honest and unique beings. They completely redefined the concept of Motherhood to me. No one has taught me more than they have.

19. My favorite wordplay: Like fish puns? Let minnow!

20. Ocean is only in the Northeast to me. Especially Maine. Everything else is a body of water, but not true ocean.

21. Deadpool forever.

22. My favorite dishes are Grandma Mary’s Bisquick pancakes and turkey salad sandwiches; and Grandma Margaret’s scrambled eggs.

23. Cancer has been one of the biggest blessings of my entire life.

24. Doing public speaking delights me. Neil deGrasse Tyson is my favorite public speaker. I cannot stand when people say, “I don’t need this mic,” because it shows ignorance and disrespect of the hearing-impaired and people who are not as familiar with English and require clear diction to understand, and lack of concern about random noises around an individual listener, including candy wrappers, coughing, doors opening or closing et cetera et cetera. If you ever find yourself declining a microphone or dismissing a sound system altogether, whether planner or speaker, I beg you to reconsider. If there is one idea I can leave with you, it would probably be Use. The. Mic.

25. Linda Belcher is my spirit animal.

Head On and Heart Strong!

Love, Erica

Kids’ Almanac columnist Erica Chase-Salerno was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in the Summer of 2015. To read more about her experience, visit